The Ultimate Guide to Backpacking Canada 

Plan the Ultimate Backpacking Trip Across Canada!

This guide is loaded with tips on how to traverse this massive and diverse country on a budget.

I traveled for three months from the colorful West to the East’s sweet towns, and I cannot wait to tell you what you should consider doing or not doing in this beautiful country.

If one is interested in backpacking across Canada’s vibrant cities or its spectacular scenery, then this guide is for you. Let’s dive in!

How to Go to Canada

The process of visiting Canada is relatively simple. The majority of tourists will require an eTA if they enter Canada by air – this is an online process that takes just a few minutes. If you enter Canada by land or sea, do not require eTA but be sure to check updated visa information on the Government of Canada website.

Many airlines offer direct connections to Canada from various international cities. I advise using comparison sites like Skyscanner or Google Flights for the best deals. I used Air Canada and flew from New Delhi to Vancouver but many other airlines can offer competitive prices.

Budget-Friendly Travel Across Canada

Canada is a huge country and traveling around can get pretty costly but not always.

  1. Trains: Via Rail trains are both beautiful and provide comfortable travel across Canada. Be on the lookout for their special deals and discounts.
  2. Buses: Greyhound and Megabus offer cheap bus rides between cities and states. Shorter distances can be covered by local public transport which is cheap and effective.
  3. Flights: For longer routes, budget carriers such as WestJet may be ideal. They normally have promotions for local routes.
  4. Ridesharing: There are platforms such as Poparide that connect travellers with locals to share rides and cut down travel costs and loneliness.
  5. Affordable Accommodation Options
  6. There are hostels, cheap hotels and Airbnb options for budget accommodation in Canada. Here are some tips:
  7. Hostels: Suitable for those on a tight budget. They are in abundance in major cities and tourist destinations. Some sites such as Hostelworld may assist you with this.
  8. Airbnb: Perfect for discovering cheap and creative accommodations. It is also a great opportunity to make friends with local people who can provide you with additional information.
  9. Camping: The national parks in Canada are ideal for camping. Some parks have cheap camping grounds on which you can put up a tent and enjoy nature.

Affordable Communication: TSIM International’s Canada SIM Card Communication is very important for backpackers and international students and getting a local SIM card will assist in controlling costs. If you are traveling from India to Canada. It is important to remain in touch. TSIM International provides a cost-effective Canada SIM card that is specifically designed for Indian students who are planning to go there and study. This SIM card offers relatively affordable data bundles, so you will be able to stay connected with your friends and family in your home country. 

To purchase a TSIM’s Canada SIM Card for International Students, visit their website. 

Planning Your Itinerary

There are so many wonderful locations to visit in Canada.

Vancouver, British Columbia

Begin in Vancouver – a city of natural wonders and cultural diversity.

  • Stanley Park: Stanley Park is a huge urban park that has trails, beaches, and the Seawall.
  • Granville Island: Famous for its public market, craft stores and restaurants.
  • Lynn Canyon Park: A cheaper option for the Capilano Suspension Bridge, with stunning trails and a free suspension bridge.

Accommodation: It might be a good idea to opt for a hostel in Kitsilano, which is where the beaches and the overall chill vibe are located.

Kelowna, British Columbia

After that, travel to Kelowna in the Okanagan Valley, known for its vineyards and sports and recreation opportunities.

  • Wine Tasting: Tour some of the region’s finest wineries such as Summerhill Pyramid Winery.
  • Outdoor Activities: Bike rental to roam the city and nearby lakes.
    Accommodation: Kelowna International Hostel is a good hostel with friendly staff and low prices.

Banff, Alberta

Banff is a destination for those who want to enjoy the beautiful nature. It is situated in Banff National Park and provides breathtaking views of nature and recreational activities.

  • Banff Gondola: Ride for a round for spectacular views of the Canadian Rockies.
  • Hiking: Hike through trails like Johnston Canyon and Lake Louise.

Accommodation: Pre-book a hostel or budget hotel as Banff is expensive and can be very busy.

Jasper, Alberta

Drive the Icefields Parkway from Banff to Jasper – one of the top drives in the world.

  • Jasper National Park: Go hiking watch wildlife and enjoy the beauty of the night sky in this peaceful park.
  • Glacier Skywalk: It is an observation platform with a glass floor from which one can have a fantastic view.

Accommodation: Rent an Airbnb or go camping to save money.

Calgary, Alberta

Next, travel to Calgary, which is home to a diverse cultural community and hosts the Calgary Stampede festival.

  • Calgary Tower: To get a bird’s eye view of the city.
  • Local Art: Visit public art and Glenbow Museum.

Accommodation: Book an Airbnb near downtown that won’t break the bank.

Toronto, Ontario

A short flight or a long bus ride away from Calgary is Toronto which is Canada’s largest city.

  • CN Tower: Come here to enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of the city.
  • Kensington Market: A diverse community with unique stores and dining establishments.

Accommodation: Consider staying in a hostel or guest house for cheaper prices.

Niagara Falls, Ontario

Niagara Falls is highly recommended as a one-day excursion from Toronto.

  • Boat Tour: Experience the falls on a boat safari.
  • Clifton Hill: There is also an attraction and entertainment area to explore.

Accommodation: Back to Toronto for the night or cheap accommodation in Niagara.

Ottawa, Ontario

Ottawa is the capital of Canada with a rich history and diverse culture.

  • Parliament Hill: Visit the beautiful government architecture.
  • Rideau Canal: Take a scenic walk or bike ride along this UNESCO World Heritage site.

Accommodation: Stay in an Airbnb or budget hotel in the city center.

Montreal, Quebec

Montreal blends old-world charm with a modern, multicultural vibe.

  • Old Montreal: Wander the cobblestone streets and visit historic sites.
  • Local Cuisine: Try poutine, Montreal’s famous comfort food.

Accommodation: Find a centrally located Airbnb or hostel.

Quebec City, Quebec

A short bus ride from Montreal, Quebec City is a charming destination with a rich history.

  • Old Quebec: Explore the historic district and the iconic Chateau Frontenac.
  • Montmorency Falls: Visit these stunning waterfalls, higher than Niagara Falls.

Accommodation: Stay in a cosy Airbnb within the old city walls.

Final Thoughts

Backpacking across Canada offers a unique blend of urban excitement and natural beauty. This guide provides a starting point for your adventure, but the key is to tailor the trip to your interests and pace. Happy travels and enjoy your Canadian journey!

Categories Miscellaneous


I am Dev, and I've been travelling full-time since 2016. I was a journalism student & started my corporate career as a documentary film-maker in England, before moving to India & becoming a full-time nomad. 25+countries. 50+ Brand Partnerships. And the adventure continues...

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